Member features is a new weekly series for the CIJ blog, published every Monday. Please join us in welcoming Sunshine Makings, our weekly featured member!
- Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi, I’m Jessica from Sunshine Makings. My favorite season is summer which helped inspire the name of my shop. My mom and I both crochet the lovely items that we sell. She lives in California and I live in England. I sure do miss the beach! I run our shop from England and we do most of our brainstorming and sharing of ideas over the phone, email, and Skype. I don’t have a favorite quote, but I do have two amazing children, a boy and a girl. They keep me busy!
- When did you open your business and what made you decide to do so? Any new exciting news you’d like to share? What makes your business stand out from others?
I opened my business in November last year. Over the last few years, I had been battling SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) through the winter months. I had made it a priority to be more consistent in my creative outlets which eventually led me to achieve my long term goal of selling my creations. When I mentioned this to my mom, she said she would love to join me in my adventure. So, besides helping me get through the dark months, our shop has been a wonderful way to keep my mom and I connected even though we live mile apart.
As a mother and daughter team, we get to share ideas and inspire each other. My mom will think of projects that I wouldn’t have and vice versa. It’s created a nice variety of products that we are able to sell in our shop. We also donate 15% of all our sales to International Justice Mission UK, and a human rights organization that secures justice for victims of slavery, exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression.
- Tell us a bit about the products you have available.
We sell a variety of hand crocheted items. I won’t list anything, but here a few that we have available: For ladies, we have scarves, hats, and fingerless mittens. For babies, we have blankets and hats made of the softest bamboo yarn. We’ve also got cup cozies, mug cozies, and some festive holiday decorations.
- Do you offer customization?
Yes, we love taking custom orders and will do anything from a size or color change to a custom orders that is different from anything in our shop.
- What are the price range of your items?
$4.00 to $60.00
- What is your most popular item on Etsy?
We tend to sell a little bit of everything, but lately our most popular items have been our Holiday Wine Bottle Toppers. They are hat and scarf sets to decorate wine bottles or similar shaped bottles. They are perfect for hostess gifts, secret santa gifts, or as a decoration in your home.
- How can people care for your products to ensure they last as long as possible?
We recommend hand washing and air drying for all our items.
- What materials do you use and which is your favourite to work with?
Our main material is yarn, of course! I love working with bamboo yarn, like for our baby hats, because it is so deliciously soft. I also like working with bulkier yarn, like for our ladies hats, because it takes less time to get to a finished product.
- What inspires your work and new products? Is there someone you look up to and inspires you?
Usually, discussions between my mom and I inspire our work and new products. We have random brainstorming sessions in which we’ll share new ideas and decide on what we are going to make for the shop.
My mom inspires me the most. She has always been so creatively talented and generous with her creativity. She taught me the most about how to create and how to share my talent.
- Tell us a bit about your workspace.
I work out of my home. I love that my workspace is my home because it is very relaxing. I wish my home were larger so that I could have more room to store my supplies, the kids toys, and that we could all have more space to do our favorite things.
- Do you have a favourite artist or genre to listen to while you work?
I get a little to antsy crocheting and listening to music so I usually watch my favorite TV shows of the moment while I work. These change from year to year, but I find it very relaxing to crochet while being entertained.
- Any great stories about being a crafter that you’d like to share?
I’ve mostly just enjoyed being a crafter on my own and over the distance with my mom. Although, I have a friend who has recently showed an interest in learning how to crochet, so it will be my first time teaching someone which I find very exciting!
- Why do you believe people should buy handmade, such as your own work, vs buying mass-produced products from box stores?
There is something so special about handmade work because each item is completely unique. They stand out from the mass-produced products. We also try to use more environmentally friendly materials when possible, like our bamboo baby hats and recycled denim cup sleeves. Buying these has a very positive impact on the environment.
- What are your future goals for the business this year and in the coming years? What is your dream?
One specific future goal is to incorporate more eco-friendly items into our shop. My dream is, of course, to continue creating and selling my items, as long as people continue to show an interest in what we are selling. So far, my shop has been a blessing in my life and I hope it has blessed others in some small way. I’d like that to happen.
- Is this your full-time job or do you have a day job? If so, what do you do for work?
This is not my full-time job, even though I would love for that to happen some day. For now, I teach Yearbook part-time at an American School and take care of my kids the rest of the time.
- Do you have any advise for someone thinking of opening their own business? Any advise for those wanting to sell on Etsy?
My advice is to do it! It is such an enjoyable experience.
- Besides your business, what do you like to do with your time?
Besides crocheting, I enjoy sewing and I love painting and drawing. It’s hard to fit it all in, so I do a little here and a little there. I also really enjoying doing crafts with my children.
- Where can people find out more about you and your business?
- Do you have any up-coming markets?
November 8, 2014 – AWBS Holiday Craft & Gift Fayre – 10am-3pm – Ascot – http://www.awbs.org.uk/philantrophy/craft-fayre
November 16, 2014 – TASIS Fete de Noel – 10am-3pm
- Do you have any up-coming promotions/sales or anything else you’d like to share?
Black Friday Sale, Cyber Monday Sale, and a Christmas sale in December
Some fun questions!
- What is your dream vacation?
Ride a Vespa from Switzerland to England (done it and it was a dream)
- What was the last movie you saw in theatres?
The Way Way Back
- Favourite Ice Cream?
Cinnamon Gelato…only in Italy
- Coke or Pepsi?
- Game of Thrones or Modern Family?
- Rock, paper, scissors or spock?
- Urban or suburban?
Somewhere in the middle
- Favourite book?
I could never narrow it down to one; there are too many good ones. But the book I’ve enjoyed the most this year was Dracula by Bram Stoker
If you would like to be featured, please contact admin Natalie at email@example.com Please note that you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.